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Sky offers preview of its HDTV service

Launches assault on internet-TV threat

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Sky has launched a new website, which includes sample teaser clips from its new high-definition television service, to be launched before July.

The website allows users to download high-definition video clips to their PCs, including sports and wildlife footage. It also includes information on the equipment users will need to take advantage of high-definition TV. It lists the channels that will be available through the service, which include Sky Sports, Sky Movies, Sky Box Office, Sky One, Artsworld, National Geographic and Discovery.

A spokesperson for Sky told ElectricNews.Net that the service will be launched before the end of June. It will be launched simultaneously in Ireland and Britain and the same channels will be available in both countries.

Sky has a total of 8.1m subscribers, 393,000 of whom are located in Ireland.

In early February, Sky exceeded its profit forecasts for the first half of the financial year. Revenues rose nine per cent year-over-year to £2.14bn and pre-tax profits rise 14 per cent to £390m, well ahead of the £275m forecast by analysts.

Competition in the sector - where Sky's chief competitors are cable group NTL and Freeview, the free-to-view digital TV services - is expected to intensify during early 2006 with the arrival of internet-based TV services from newcomers to the market like BT Group. Sky's response to this threat has been to embrace new technology and to promote its value-added services in an effort to move into new markets and retain customers.

Other companies are already getting ready for the introduction of HD TV to Ireland. In August, Sony unveiled its range of HD-compatible TVs, which began at €1,049 for a 19-inch screen.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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